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2D game development environment

Software Recommendations Asked by Luis Masuelli on December 4, 2021

I would like a tool to develop 2D games fitting this criterion:

  • Edit (Added): It is an IDE, not just a framework.
  • Natively export to mobile devices. Compiling Linux executables or ActionScript applications would be desirable for debugging purposes.
  • Ability to write code (and obviously, have an understandable API), but not JavaScript. I would like the resulting code had known experiences on being performant with a lot of objects (say: large tiled map games). So either their interpreter is fast, or somehow the parser generates native code all the time.
  • OOP supported. Good OOP support, with applied theory (classes, inheritance, scopes).
  • Standard game lifecycle tools (most game dev tools support an event-based lifecycle and they edit them in their editor).
  • A good API (and/or component kit) with the ability to, at least, connect a socket, a web socket, and perform HTTP Ajax calls. Most frameworks like Construct, GameMaker, Clickteam Fusion have components like those.
  • Assets editor. Like that in GameMaker Studio or even better: like that in Clickteam Fusion.
  • It is welcome (but not necessarily needed) if it has a visual level editor.
  • No forced online-compilation (some software tools do require that users send their jobs to a remote server which compiles for them).
  • Operative System: The environment must run on Windows 7, or Ubuntu 15.10. Preferrably Ubuntu, since it is the OS I mostly use (and so, Linux export would be more useful than Windows export).

My current status (which I’m not happy with):

  • Use Clickteam Fusion but it is ugly when needing complex logic regarding code or selecting/filtering newly-created objects.
  • GameMaker has an ugly asset management, although code. However, the coding is a bit ugly to me.
  • Citrus Engine is an ActionScript engine. It is only an engine (no assets management).

3 Answers

I would recommend you to check Godot, a multi-platform 2D and 3D open source game engine with IDE. You can easily export the games to desktop systems Windows, Linux, or Mac OS, and mobile devices like Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone devices and others. You have also an option to create simple or complex GUI, with powerful GUI library, dozens of controls available as engine nodes. There is also a custom physics engine designed for games.

Another free 2D game IDE is Cocos Creator. The game development toolkit is based on Cocos2d-x, Cocos2d-html5, Cocos2d-js libraries, containing UI Editor, Animation Editor, Number Editor, Number Cruncher, and Scene Editor. Badland from Frogmind was created using this software.

Answered by qbap on December 4, 2021

If you're happy with Lua as a programming language, the Defold tools provided by King would fit the bill. Given its pedigree, the design is admittedly focussed on mobile development, but the HTML5 output is more than acceptable for desktop, and there are Windows and Linux runtimes. You need a Google account to sign up for a download, but otherwise it's free as in gratis, but not libre, and it does come with a reasonably decent IDE.

Answered by James Wallace on December 4, 2021

Unity is well supported and has had a 2D mode for games https://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials/topics/2d-game-creation/2d-game-development-walkthrough for a few years now and the IDE is excellent. Currently the Linux build of the IDE is not production but there may be a workable version for Linux. There are Mac and Windows versions. There are many tutorials for Unity3d online and also the asset market which speeds up game development with free and paid assets such as models. There may even be 2D asset demos to get the project started. The free version of will generate executable code for several platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, the web and also includes Android.

Answered by Darrell Ulm on December 4, 2021

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